Levocetirizine use while Breastfeeding
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 1, 2023.
Drugs containing Levocetirizine: Xyzal, Xyzal Allergy 24HR, Chlohux, Quihoxvar, Levrix
Levocetirizine Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding
Summary of Use during Lactation
Levocetirizine is the R-enantiomer of cetirizine. Based on limited information from cetirizine and levocetirizine, levocetirizine appears to be acceptable during breastfeeding.[1,2] Larger doses or more prolonged use may cause drowsiness and other effects in the infant or decrease the milk supply, particularly in combination with a sympathomimetic such as pseudoephedrine or before lactation is well established. International guidelines recommend cetirizine, the racemic form of the drug, as an acceptable choice if an antihistamine is required during breastfeeding.[3,4]
Maternal Levels. As part of a validation study on analysis of cetirizine and levocetirizine in breastmilk, 252 steady-state milk samples from 228 women taking either cetirizine 5 to 20 mg daily (n = 229) or levocetirizine 5 mg daily (n = 9) were analyzed. Specific dosages and times of milk collection were not given. The median milk concentrations of cetirizine and levoceitirizine was 13 mcg/L (range 0.65 to 65 mcg/L; IQR 4.9 to 24.8 mcg/L) in 228 samples. Twenty-four samples had levels below the limit of quantification (<0.39 mcg/L).
Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.
Effects in Breastfed Infants
Relevant published information on levocetirizine was not found as of the revision date. In one telephone follow-up study, mothers reported irritability and colicky symptoms in 10% of infants exposed to various antihistamines, and drowsiness was reported in 1.6% of infants. None of the reactions required medical attention.
Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk
Antihistamines in relatively high doses given by injection can decrease basal serum prolactin in nonlactating women and in early postpartum women.[6,7] However, suckling-induced prolactin secretion is not affected by antihistamine pretreatment of postpartum mothers. Whether lower oral doses of levocetirizine have the same effect on serum prolactin or whether the effects on prolactin have any consequences on breastfeeding success have not been studied. The prolactin level in a mother with established lactation may not affect her ability to breastfeed.
Wilkerson H, Datta P, Rewers-Felkins K, et al. Maternal transfer of cetirizine into human milk. J Hum Lact. 2021;37:135–8. [PubMed: 32853084]
Wegler C, Saleh A, Lindqvist A, et al. Simple and rapid quantification of cetirizine, venlafaxine, and O-desmethylvenlafaxine in human breast milk, and metformin in human milk and plasma with UHPLC-MS/MS. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2022;1205:123340. [PubMed: 35732105]
Powell RJ, Du Toit GL, Siddique N, et al. BSACI guidelines for the management of chronic urticaria and angio-oedema. Clin Exp Allergy. 2007;37:631–50. [PubMed: 17456211]
Middleton PG, Gade EJ, Aguilera C, et al. ERS/TSANZ Task Force Statement on the management of reproduction and pregnancy in women with airways diseases. Eur Respir J. 2020;55:1901208. [PubMed: 31699837]
Ito S, Blajchman A, Stephenson M, et al. Prospective follow-up of adverse reactions in breast-fed infants exposed to maternal medication. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993;168:1393–9. [PubMed: 8498418]
Messinis IE, Souvatzoglou A, Fais N, et al. Histamine H1 receptor participation in the control of prolactin secretion in postpartum. J Endocrinol Invest. 1985;8:143–6. [PubMed: 3928731]
Pontiroli AE, De Castro e Silva E, Mazzoleni F, et al. The effect of histamine and H1 and H2 receptors on prolactin and luteinizing hormone release in humans: Sex differences and the role of stress. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981;52:924–8. [PubMed: 7228996]
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